Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here–it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Confession time: I’ve got a lukewarm relationship with Rainbow Rowell’s books, I didn’t really enjoy Attachments and Landline but I loved Fangirl and Eleanor & Park was a really fantastic coming-of-age story. It’s only normal for me to get insanely excited when I found out that Rainbow Rowell was writing a spin-off novel that focuses on Simon Snow, the Harry Potter-esque book series in Fangirl.
So here I was, wishing for a magical read that would make me fall in love with Rainbow Rowell’s book. I was expecting the same charm from Fangirl, but clearly, Carry On would be one its own. I was open to reading all about the world building and the characters that would make me laugh, gasp and enjoy every page of Carry On.
Here’s the thing about Carry On, it was inspired by Harry Potter and I am totally fine with it. I loved Harry Potter and it’s personal for me because I consider Harry Potter as a classic. Rainbow Rowell made it work by taking bits and pieces from Harry Potter and making Carry On her own by adding her signature flair to it. Which made it unique and I liked it! Especially the spells, which were so creative and adorable.
The book is primarily told from Simon’s perspective but there are some alternating chapters that are told from other characters, such as Baz (my favourite) and Penelope. I loved reading Baz’s chapters because he’s sarcastic, funny when he’s not even trying and he’s got a very wicked sense of humour. I would have really enjoyed Carry On more if there were more Baz chapters. Or maybe it’s just me being the total Tyrannus Basilton “Baz” Pitch fanboy.
OK, now here’s the part where I sincerely hope it won’t be a spoiler for you who haven’t read it. I strongly suggest you to scroll down and ignore this part of the review if you want to enjoy every morsel of Carry On on your own. Simon and Baz. Baz and Simon. I almost died and gone to heaven when Baz told Simon that he has been in love with him for quite some time. Can you hear that? You got it. Little cherubs are singing about a beautiful, romantic and flipping adorable love story between two friends who are polar opposites. I adored the love story in the book. It felt like wrapping myself in a snuggly blanket while reading in bed with a really fluffy pillow. But I needed more of romance from Simon and Baz. I was expecting more cutesy, adorable scenes though. WHY NOT, RAINBOW ROWELL?
Plot-wise? I found that Carry On was a bit heavy for a YA book because it’s a thumping 500+ page book and there was a lot going on for a story on The Chosen One. There were twists and turns that I didn’t really felt the need for? Like, the first part of the story where Baz goes missing? I felt like that could have been shortened so that the book would pick up quicker. Carry On is certainly a slow burn but when you get to the part where the real magic happens. I’ll be honest, I found the middle part of the book a bit of a drag and I really wanted things to move faster. Aside from the pacing, it was quite an enjoyable and unpredictable plot that would capture the readers’ attention until the last page.
Carry On was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 and I had to wait for an entire month after its publication date to get it because for some reason, all the bookstores in Malaysia didn’t have it! Which was ATROCIOUS. After much excitement and all the waiting, I felt a wee bit let down because I was expecting an entire magical universe that would be in the vein of J. K. Rowling’s unbeatable and irreplaceable Harry Potter books. I liked Rainbow Rowell’s writing in Carry On and since it’s her first foray into YA fantasy, I’ll commend her on her flair for writing really cutesy scenes and the complex plot in Carry On.
Carry On is out on hardcover, paperback and eBook now.